Removing creosote from old wooden beams

Q. How does one remove creosote from rough-sawn wood beams in a 19th-century house? Creosote seeped out to the beams from smoke in the unlined chimney.

Carole Delaney Chester, Vt.

A. Creosote penetration is apt to be quite deep in those dear century or more old beams. Sandblasting may be a means to clean the beams but the depth of the creosote penetration is the determinant.

Of course, a paint or wood stain may provide camouflage. Consult a paint expert as to just what kind of material might provide satisfactory overlay.

Creosote is successfully removed from masonry or concrete surfaces by Sure Klean Liquid Fireplace Cleaner made by ProSoCo Inc., Kansas City, Kan. It may be worth trying on wood. You may secure it at Wiggins Concrete Products Inc., Route 143 and Eureka Road, Springfield, Vt. 05156. Telephone: (802) 886-2291.

Caution: Examine the chimney flu to make sure that butt ends of beams are not exposed to the flu. Fires can originate in the butts of beams exposed to an old unlined fireplace chimney flu.

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